ON THE WEB
ALot of talent, a bit of luck, and a “ridiculous” amount of chutzpah have propelled J ess robinson on to primetime television. At just 26, the impressionist has already appeared in the BBC’s Dead Ringers show and voiced characters on itv’s Headcases. now she is appearing, alongside Jon Culshaw and Debra stephenson, in The Culshaw and Stephenson Show in a coveted saturday night slot on BBC1.
Millions of viewers are likely to tune in to see robinson mimic Claudia Winkleman, Jools oliver, Emma Watson and Mary Poppins — characters she has added to a range that includes everyone from Amy Winehouse to Hillary Clinton.
Culshaw describes robinson as “a real rising star”, declaring that “her hyperventilating Claudia Winkleman has to be seen to be believed”. Meanwhile she speaks fondly of him: “He has been my mentor — he’s really taken me under his wing.”
Debra stephenson has also been the source of some useful advice: “i remember going in for our first read-through and she asked what i wanted,” says robinson. “i told her i’d like my own show like her, and she said: ‘Well, i’ve got 12 years on you so just keep going’.”
the exchange is typical of the kind of confidence robinson possesses. “the chutzpah is ridiculous,” she admits. “i amsopushy sometimes i need to know when to stop. i hope i’m not irritating, but i think i am! it comes from not taking no for an answer and thinking: ‘oh well, if no one’s going to write a show for me, i’ll write it myself’.”
robinson acknowledges that her extreme chutzpah may have something to do with her background. Although from a nonreligious family, she is proud of her roots — and culturally feels very Jewish. “our family are very close. We like to get together a lot and have a nosh,” she says.
Born in Edgware, robinson is the daughter of a piano teacher and artist, and granddaughter of the late jazz pianist, Jules ruben. she always seemed destined for a showbiz career. As a teenager she attended the Arts Educational school, hoping to
Jess Robinson as Claudia Winkleman